Everyone wants to stand out and be viewed as an ideal candidate during the hiring process. But the problem is, most people don’t know the best way of doing this. Many assume that to impress they need to emphasize that they graduated from a prestigious school or worked for a famous brand named company. Research shows that these credentials are only beneficial to a perspective candidate if they compliment accomplishments that matter to an employer. Before crafting your cover letters and resumes, you first need to understand what the needs, challenges, and acute pain points are of that particular hiring manager. Then you can highlight your accomplishments that demonstrate how you could help solve those problems both in your cover letter and with more details in your resume.
Know the boss’s challenges
In order to make a good impression, you first need to know what it is that the hiring manager is interested in? The best way to discover this is to ask people who work at the firm and who might know the hiring manager. If you go on LinkedIn to the company page and then see who works in that department, you can find people there whom you might have something in common with, say you graduated from the same school or are members of the same group on LinkedIn. Reach out to these people and ask for an advice appointment. You can ask about their role in the company, how they got there, advice they might have for someone interested in a job there and inquire about current challenges in the department. Once you know what the acute pain points are for a boss, you could begin to discern whether you have the skills or abilities necessary to help solve those problems. Teasing out the skills and abilities that align with a specific job is a critical step in building a compelling narrative that could help you stand out as an ideal candidate for the job you desire.
Make your resume and cover letters stand out
In order to stand out you need to show that you have the right skills to meet the specific needs of a hiring manager. Select those accomplishments that align with the role you’re seeking and develop a succinct narrative that explains exactly how you achieved your goals. (See this article for how to spin a narrative that grabs attention.) Start with an active verb that measures what you accomplished and offer details about what you did to achieve your goal. Words like improved and increased combined with a percentage (and the amount) you improved the results e.g. “Increased sales performance by 15% ($1.5M) over two year by initiating a digital advertising strategy covering markets in the US, Europe, Latin America and Asia.” makes you sound like a go-getter with skills that could benefit the company. Use numbers and succinct explanations with each example. The more you practice doing this, the better your narrative will be in your interviews.
The savvy interviewer knows how to relate a story that shows how you can help the employer accomplish his/her goals. Employers prefer to hire people who can demonstrate they have the specific skills, attributes and abilities that could help him/her achieve his strategic, financial goals. So if you have stories that can showcase this, be prepared to confidently share them. If you don’t have these stories yet, start looking for opportunities to help an employer accomplish his goals so eventually you’ll have the proof you can contribute in a meaningful way to a prospective employer.